Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Healthiest + Best Tasting Pesto You've Ever Made

Basil Growing in Garden

We are in the Dog Days of Summer - my favorite time of year!  With these days comes the bounty of summer vegetables and herbs, including basil.  What's great about basil, like other herbs, it can be grown in pots with minimal space.  We are actually growing ours this year in two spots; in pots on the deck, and in our community garden plot with our summer vegetables.

Basil is not only known for it's distinct fragrance and wonderful taste, it is also known to provide a host of health benefits. It is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and its nutrients support cardiovascular health.

My favorite way to use basil is to roll it, chop it into fine slices, and sprinkle on top of summer soups and dishes. That said, when you have a mountain of basil, like we do now, I don't want a single leaf to go to waste!

Pesto is an amazing, powerful spread you can create using minimal ingredients and in a matter of minutes.  It takes a lot of leaves to make a good pesto, so those extra bunches you don't feel like drying will be in good company!

Most traditional pesto calls for pine nuts, but I like to make mine nut-free so everyone can enjoy.

Healthy + Delicious Pesto

Nourishing Cleansing Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup (your choice) of either parsley leaves, cilantro, or mint
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


Combine the basil, herbs (either parsley, cilantro, OR mint), sun dried tomatoes, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until it is finely chop.  Add in your olive oil slowly in a steady drizzle as you continue to pulse.  Process until it becomes a smooth, light paste.

Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable.  Season with sea salt.  Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour to saturate the flavors.  If storing over night (important!), pour a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil over the top of the pesto to help keep it bright green.


**TIP:  If you enjoy the taste of cilantro, I highly recommend that you make this pesto with cilantro rather than parsley or mint.  Cilantro is one of the most detoxifying herbs and helps to remove your body of unwanted toxins.  That said, if cilantro tastes like soap to you (like it unfortunately does for me), then substitute with either parsley leaves or mint which are also cleansing.

Be well,

If you like this recipe and are interested in others, check out my Seasonal Nourishing Menu.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

5 Tips to Kick Portion Distortion

"Recommended serving size".......does anyone really pay attention to this when choosing a meal or a snack?

How many portions do you think are in a bag of snack-size whole grain crackers? Or a small bottle of locally-pressed juice, or a lunchbox pack of granola bars? I'll give you a hint, it's not just one!

How Many Servings Do You Think?

Often, the above products contain two or two-and-a-half serving per package!

Can YOU eat just one???

Sure, you could go ahead and enjoy just half the bag, but are you really going to do that?

Don't beat yourself up if the answer is "no". Reality is, if you place food in front of most people, they tend to eat it all.  It's human nature; it's just the way we're wired.

The Perils of Supersizing

Eating too much food at one sitting is hard on your body.  Here's why:

  • Food is meant to be spread throughout the day. Overdosing on too much food at one time causes pain, upset, and sluggish digestion.
  • A surge of glucose is released into your blood. Your pancreas has to work overtime, pumping insulin throughout the body, to absorb all of that glucose. This can make you feel spacey, weak, irritable, or headachy.
  • Thinking there is some type of emergency, your adrenal glands go into "fight or flight" mode and release adrenaline and cortisol, which is the body's natural response to stress.
  • When your blood sugar levels finally plummet, you experience major cravings for more food- specifically simple carbs or sweets.
  • Research has found that immune system function is affected for up to 5 hours after consuming large amounts of simple carbohydrates.

So what's the solution?

Here are my 5 Tips to Kick Portion Distortion

  1. Don't over order - go for salads, soups, and appetizers, which are typically more reasonably sized than entrees.
  2. Choose high fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to keep you feeling full and energized.
  3. Chew well to aid digestion and give your brain time to register you are full prior to overeating.
  4. Get enough water. Often we mistake thirst for hunger.
  5. Carry your own snacks. Stock up on snack-sized containers and fill them with carrot sticks, nuts, apple slices, and so on.

Which of these tips do you think will be easiest to implement for you?  I'd love to know if you have any others!

Be well,

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